My Coop Checklist
So you’ve built a coop, but are you sure you’ve got everything sorted out? Here is a list to help new chicken keepers prepare for their first flock. Does your coop have:
There are many different materials you could use as coop bedding. I use hay, but wood shavings can work just as well. Just remember that in the summer chickens don’t require as much heat retention as they do in winter.
Is your coop:
If your coop has no airflow your flock could succumb to respiratory diseases. Make sure some light and fresh air can get in, while still sheltering them from potential bad weather.
You may need to fix mesh or chicken wire along the bottom of coop to prevent potential predators. Make sure they can’t dig in or climb in from the top and sides.
Having a movable coop is a great asset, although it's not vital to the health of your flock. With a portable coop you could move it to higher ground as needed. It can be as easy as adding wheels underneath the floor of your coop, and in fact some people use horse floats as coops.
4 square feet per bird is sufficient, but you may need more or less depending on how much time the chickens spend in the coop. For example free range chickens need less room because they are out and about all day long.
Is your run:
Make the fence high enough so your chickens can’t fly over, but low enough that you can lean over it. This will make things much easier in future.
If your dog slammed into the fence or tried to climb it, would it bend and give way?
Your chickens need room to run around and have fun! Besides, lack of room can promote poor egg production and feather picking.
Does your run have:
Soil and greenery?
Your chickens will get bored very quickly without any plants or grass. They also need soil to bathe in, as this helps them get rid of parasites.
A constantly shaded area?
Shade needs to be available at all times in some part of the run. Without it your chickens will overheat and possibly die.
Enjoy keeping your flock! As always, feel free to offer suggestions for this article. Thanks!